On a Robert Moses pilgrimage last weekend to see exactly how the Master Builder plowed the Cross-Bronx Expressway through the neighborhood of Tremont, my brother and I came across these graffiti.
This shot and the one above, go together. Odd subject matter, I thought.
I know very little about graffiti, or street art as its finer examples are now known (how's this for the SAT - graffiti: street art; comic books: graphic art?!), nor can I claim to have listened to much rap music growing up, but these pieces display a pride in their craftsmanship. They were fresh, hardly relics of the early eighties, and as the paint spread across several blocks of vacant but tidy warehouses, their creators clearly had permission from the owner.
Following the suggested link led me to Indie184, (check out the .net cousin for a good post-modern workout), a rare female graffiti artist. She hails from Washington Heights, is a mother of three, and has several interviews on the web, in which she describes her fashion brand, Kweenz Destroy. My impression of the collection is of hipsters cross-pollinating with the world of hip-hop - American Apparel for the urban set. So much for my excitement at finding a surviving example of graffiti giving meaning to bleak concrete; commercialism has subverted even this quintessential tool of the rebellious. However, give Indie184 credit for honesty, as she responds to a question probing for Bronx hardcore nostalgia by quipping, "Rather corporate than crack any day."